We just got back from San Francisco and visiting the surrounding areas of Saulsalito, Napa, Sonoma, and the coastline on US 1. It was a fun trip with lots of great food and great times with the hubby. We drank more wine than one should followed by lots of great California Food. Now it is back to reality, unpacking the suitcases (the worst part of a trip), laundry, cleaning, etc....But first, a few pics from our wonderful trip!
Details about the trip:
Stayed at Hotel Monaco. Loved the decor of this hotel and the location was wonderful! They had daily wine tastings for free in the lobby from 4-6. Great coffee bar in the am and the service was amazing. We didn't have time on Sunday to mail all of our wine back to Alabama, so we left it in their luggage room. On Monday, one of the men who work there went to a packing store, bought the boxes to pack the wine in and shipped it to us... Talk about SERVICE! Oh, and he didn't charge for the boxes.... They also are pet friendly which says a lot about a hotel in my opinion (they will walk your dog daily for you while you are out exploring the city).
Restaurants: We ate at Zuni cafe, recommended by a friend. Loved the drinks and the food was so fresh and seasoned perfectly. Didn't get to go to Chez Panisse though... One day i will get to Alice Waters restaurant, love her Slow Food Movement influence and her cookbook! We also enjoyed Scoma's Restaurant. Of course you cannot forget the SOURDOUGH bread! Ate several sandwiches and clam chowders that included this amazing bread!
Saulsalito: We LOVED saulsalito. I could move there tomorrow! NOT KIDDING. We ate at Sushi Ran which had amazing sushi. Great place to walk around or get on a bike and explore further.
Activities: Walked through China Town, explored Golden Gate Park, drove down Lombard Street, went to Alcatraz (wouldn't do again, but recommend to do at least once), saw the Golden Gate Bridge, experienced the stench associated with Fisherman's Wharf (my least favorite thing we did, likely because it was so touristy), and did lots of shopping around Union Square
The Golden Gate Bridge with all the clouds that pour over San Francisco during this time of year... making it freezing, highs around 60 and lows in the 50's! Nice refreshing break from 110 degrees and very humid!
Ryan and I in Napa, heading into Pejo Vineyard
Wine Tasting at our favorite... Cakebread!
In the tasting gardens at Cakebread
On our trip I read the "Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone, recommended to me by Sara. It got me thinking a lot about vegetarian diets and adding more veggies to all of our meals. I of course support local and organic ingredients, grass fed beef, cage free chickens, etc...which I always thought was good enough... however, how can I eat even better for my health was what I started debating. So, starting on Monday, I started eating less meat, more veggies, more fruit, and being even more aware of what is in food. I went on a large grocery store shopping spree, buying different veggies that I had never worked with. I made roasted chick peas (amazing), homemade granola (yummy), and a delicious pasta dish that even Ryan liked!
The basis of this book focuses on a macrobiotic diet, protecting our furry animals (she is very pro-animal fyi), eliminating "nasty" foods and eating "kind" foods that support our energy and the environment. Am I saying that this book made me believe in global warming... no. Am I saying that I will never eat meat again... no! But, I am trying to change the choices I make, adding more nutritious things (veggies, fruits, whole grains) to my diet and trying not to crave meat all the time. This type of change definitely doesn't occur overnight, but hopefully in the long run I can make it work for us here in the Pearce Family! Trying to convince meat lovers like myself and Ryan is hard to do, but this book has really got me thinking a little differently!
Look at this picture...
This is my Nephew petting our limousin and angus cows
Our cows on our farm are well taken care of by my brother... they get petted and roam wherever they want... If only all cows were treated like this, maybe we wouldn't have the animal cruelty cases that are appearing in lots of slaughter houses...
Here is a yummy new recipe to try, it makes a lot so you will have great leftovers!
Rustic Pasta - from the Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone
- 1/4 pound pasta, whole wheat
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 vidalia onion, thinly sliced(if in season, if not just a yellow or white onion)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1/4 cup shoyu (by the soy sauce)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
- 5-6 tbs of organic or homemade marinara sauce (look for ones with no sugar)
Cook the pasta, until al dente and drain.
While the past is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium to high heat and add the onions. Cook for about 6-7 minutes until they are softened, add the garlic and saute for 3 minutes longer, until the onions are turning golden and the garlic is fragrant. Now add the celery and saute for 4 minutes. Then stir in the shoyu, salt, garlic powder, and cabbage. Saute for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes longer. Now add the pasta to the skillet, add the marinara sauce, and toss all together. Cook for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat until everything is simmering and well mixed. Serve!
On a side note, I picked about 10,000 tomatoes from my garden, so I added 3 of these tomatoes to the mixture and it worked very nicely with the flavors.
Give this recipe a try, serve with a nice salad, and you have a delicious, hearty, vegetarian meal!